Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Qualitative Research: If it ain't science, it's crap

Without a doubt, quantitative research is science. It involves systematic observation and experimentation to better understand consumer behaviour.

Surveys represent the bulk of our quantitative work, converting wide-ranging written and verbal, and positive and negative opinions into carefully coded numerical values that can range from -100 to 100. Neuroscience converts brain waves, skin responses, and eye-tracking behaviours into even finer grains allowing us to better understand the differences between men and women, buyers and browsers, high-income and low-income people, and so many other distinct groups of people. Big data has jumped on the science bandwagon with even more intensity. Billions and trillions of numbers can be categorized and re-categorized into untold numbers of groups and associated with untold numbers of perfectly coded, perfectly transcribed analyzable data points.

But qualitative research? That's a completely different story. To be valid and reliable, as well as reputable and respected, marketing research needs to behave as a science. Does qualitative research meet the criteria to be considered a science?

First, science is systematic. Are any of these characteristics systematic?

Delineation of precise characteristics in the selection of individual interview participants, according to demographic, psychographics, and personality characteristics such as age, gender, income, education, region, language, sociability, product usage, product opinions, and more

Preparation of standardized discussion guides to ensure consistency across multiple focus groups and multiple interviews

Standardized training of group and session leaders to avoid introducing, creating, or encouraging bias due to group think, dominant group members, reluctant group members, hostile group members or any of the wide assortment of other potential problems


Detailed understanding and selection of the tool best suited to uncover the problem at hand from among hundreds of possibilities such as grounded theory, narratology, storytelling, ethnography, shadowing, participant observation, focus groups, interviews

Detailed methods for converting non-verbal and non-numerical results into standardized data points such as coding books used for both manual and computer-assisted coding

Second, science is experimental. Are these characteristics experimental?

Preparing products in a variety of colours, shapes, sizes, formats such that research participants can be exposed to some or all of them in pre-determined orders

Examining the reliability and consistency of opinions, across people, across groups, etc, by choosing complimentary and/or contradictory research tools and research leaders

I recently spoke with a qualitative researcher who insisted that qualitative research isn't science. They insisted that qualitative researchers can't talk about data and can't use numbers except in nominal ways. Perhaps some qualitative researchers take pride in not partaking in science. Maybe it's a nice topic of discussion when it comes to talking with clients about why they should go with one method or another. Maybe my friend is wrong.

Is qualitative research is a science? I have to say yes.

Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats and can be reached at annie@peanutlabs.com.





Monday, April 14, 2014

Speaker Spotlight: Magnus Lindkvist

I recently sat down with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote speaker Magnus Lindkvist, Trendspotter & Futurologist, who discussed how technology is not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people as well as the emerging space of marketing science.

We are fortunate to have him share his critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Magnus had to say:

IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is “humanization of data.” Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action?

Magnus: Because people have secrets and all opportunities begin as secrets.

IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?

Magnus: It visualizes the fringes of society in a new way. Before, the mainstream was dominant by its strength in numbers. But in the ‘thoughtsphere’, a Minnesota flute tribe or Namibian upstart company can have the same perceived presence as a king or queen.

IIR: How has consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?

Magnus: It only helped early on as I was learning the ropes. Once you grasp the basics, you are free to challenge them known as "you-have-to-get-an-invite-to-change-music”-paradigm.

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Magnus: The title has been completely eroded in that everyone points ”research” these days and quotes some arcane, Googled study. But I see the role of the good researcher as having been expanded and deepened in that everything from product innovations to president reelections use research as their fuel.

IIR: Describe a situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition market research methods. How did that benefit your business?

Magnus: All available research said the book business is a dying market. I wrote three books anyway. They all failed.

IIR: Where do you see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the next five years?

Magnus: I see a new role emerging called Chief Imagination Officer or C.Im.O.

IIR: How has the increasingly connected consumer affected market research?

Magnus: Negatively. It dilutes opinions. It’s harder to find quirky, off-the-grid people who give those valuable sideways kind of insights.

Want to hear more from Magnus in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. Magnus will be presenting a keynote entitled, “When The Future Begins - A Guide to Long-Term Thinking” on Wednesday, May 21st at 12:00 pm. To learn more about the event and register, click here: http://bit.ly/1lGi6Ur

** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **


About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tweet & Win a Free Pass to The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014

Fans and followers of the The Future of Consumer Intelligence are invited to enter the Tweet & Win Contest by following @TMRE and/or visiting and tweeting with the hashtag #FOCIWIN to win one of three prizes:
  1. A complimentary pass to attend The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014
  2. A signed copy of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger
  3. A signed copy of “Hacking H(app)iness by John C. Havens

You may tweet anything you'd like regarding The Future of Consumer Intelligence but be sure to include the hashtag #FOCIWIN to be eligible to win. Every time you tweet (and the hashtag is included) you will be entered to win. Twitter discourages multiple postings of the same tweet per day, we encourage you to be creative with your entry and use the hash tag #FOCIWIN or your tweet won't count as an entry.

One winner will be chosen per item (3 chances to win). The contest ends on Monday, April 21st. Winners will be announced on Friday, April 25th on TheMarketResearchEventBlog.com and will be notified via Twitter. Please note that winning a free pass or workshop includes the pass itself and does not include travel or hotel costs.

For more information, the rules, and a set of tweets to enter click here:  http://bit.ly/1k91ja7

The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector. The Future of Consumer Intelligence, 
delivering the quality you've come to come to expect, from the producers of The Market Research Event.


As a loyal reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% off discount when you use the code FOCI14BLOG. So register today!  http://bit.ly/1k91ja7
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rats, Responders, or Consumers: What do we call these people?

As scientists and researchers, the lowly or lovely rat, depending on your perspective, has allowed us to research many things over the century. Rats have told us how live tissue responds to a variety of diseases and drugs. Rats have also taught us about concepts like positive reinforcement, punishment, socialization, team work, and much more. Rats have taught us so much that for a long time, we used the same vernacular in our research with human rats, or ‘subjects’ as we more kindly referred to them.

Over time, we realized that even that kind term wasn't as nice as what we’d been led to believe. The term ‘subjects’ still seemed to infer that humans were disposable live samples to be treated and mistreated however we desired. Clearly, treating our moms, granddads, and loved ones as subjects didn't feel right.

In recent years, we've worked hard to find words that more aptly described what we perceived the relationship between research and human subject to be. We sought words that focused more on the contributions our humans made, on the respect and trust we have in them, on the effort and passion they've gladly given us. We stumbled over words like responders, participants, consumers, and people, each one of them lacking in various ways to truly describe what really takes place.

But have we ever asked the human subject what they wanted to be called? I hazard a guess that for most people, the answer is no! Recently, I had the opportunity to do just that. I was able to simply ask a human subject what they wish to be called. And the answer was surprisingly simple.

“Call me your client.” Full stop.

That never occurred to me before.

But really, when you think about it, aren't people, responders, participants, humans, consumers really our clients? We conduct all this marketing research to provide better products and services for them. Which means, of course, that they are our clients. How did it take me decades to get to that answer? I really don’t know but at least now I have a good answer.


And on that note, perhaps I will pop into a #FOCI14 presentation by Kelley Peters, Neil Fleming, and Emily Stern of Post Foods when they discuss how consumers are people too.

Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats and can be reached at annie@peanutlabs.com.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Four Consumer Segments of the Modern Shopping World

Shopping seasons often fall around holiday seasons, and absorb anywhere from weeks to months of our time as shoppers and consumers, and even more so if for marketers. The season evokes the anxiety, well pondered over in days when brands battled for loyal consumers.


On drawing comparisons between the online and offline world, alongside the regularity of last minute versus planned shoppers, a two by two matrix on uncovering four shopping personalities can be deduced. Let’s call it The Timed Shopping Framework, since it can apply to any phase of life when we have to shop with a deadline.

The full length version of this post can be read on: Where does Online Shopping leave Glamorous Window Displays?

Holiday Shopping Framework @sssourabh
Bandwidth Basher
Purchasing Power: High. It’s unlikely that these shoppers will be looking for deals, but are more in a frantic rush to buy something while multitasking a busy corporate or bustling alternative life; thus the restraint from going in stores.
Retailer Benefit: Shipping fees. Consumers in this segment may be blind to free shipping coupons in all the haste, so retailers can gobble up any margins on those exorbitant overnight fees.

Strategic Sprawler
Purchasing Power: Moderate. These shoppers will likely have scouted the deals, almost as early as Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Being deal hunters, it’s not to say they are budget battlers: rather the contrary, they are likely to spend in volume. Call them indecisive, or on the other spectrum, simply smart with a cool variety of friends.
Retailer Benefit: Volume purchase and loyalty. It’s likely that these shoppers will seek deals with enough prowess to use coupon codes or minimum purchase requirements to benefit retailers, either with volume or future loyalty.
  
Methodical Maneuverer
Purchasing Power: Moderate. These are traditional shoppers that would rather drive to the stores come fall, and load up their trunks and rear seats with less shopping on a periodic basis. And they never forget the wrapping, bows, cards and frills. These shoppers either have a sense of detail, or are simply preventing an anxiety attack, as per a former framework.
Retailer Benefit: Traditional store sales, which as we all know, may not be real value sales, but well marketed ones. Nonetheless, courtesy of methodical research, retailers should not expect these consumers to be strong spenders.

Splurging Sprinter
Purchasing Power: High. These shoppers have simply had no time in bustling lives, and tend to leave things to the last minute. With about half of their preferred selections disappearing off shelves, they are likely to be struck by anxiety and spend more than they need. Sans details, they may skip the frills and even ask for gift wrapped gifts altogether! Just beware that these folks may be struck by stress more often than not; even in public.
Retailer Benefit: Revenues from last minute shopping. Retailers can expect high spending from these consumers, with a slight dose of stress depending on the level of shopper persistence. It will be easy to entice them with leftover, often non-sale items, or with stocking stuffers.

Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.





Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Millennial Problem in Market Research

When you talk to colleagues in Market Research and Consumer Insights about how they started in the Industry, how many times have you heard the phrase, “I just kind of fell into it”? Honestly, I’ve heard this phrase more often that I would have liked throughout the years. I recently attended a Market Research event and heard the same phase repeated again. So I just finally had to ask, “Why?”

Is it perhaps because for lack of better terms, a defined career path for Market Research in college? Universities have Accounting, Math, and Science departments, but the overwhelming majority do not have Marketing Research departments or offer degrees in Marketing Research.

Maybe it’s due to a general lack of awareness of our trade among the public? Or perhaps it’s due to the nature of the work and the skill set required? Whatever the reason, the “just fell into it” phenomenon is a foreseeable problem for our industry that is expected to add 32% more Research Analysts over the course of the next decade. And who are likely to fill these roles? Why, Millennials of course. 

“Intense interest and behavior of young people can improve our research." ~ Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP



And Millennials are a perfect fit for our industry. They are the first generation that has lived with the internet since birth. They are technically savvy in so many aspects and have a fantastic set of interactive, adoptive & digital skills. With such a set of appealing traits, are we as an Industry expecting them to “just fall into” the trade as well? Or are we recruiting and training the brightest, most intelligent, most curious young individuals that we can? If we are participating in the former, our industry is in for quite a shock.

A recent poll among Millennials revealed they want to work for prestigious online / tech firms like Google, Apple, Facebook, & Microsoft. These firms are likely perceived to be creative, innovative and push the technological envelope. Likewise, these same firms want Millennials to work for them for similar reasons, and are recruiting top talent among the best colleges throughout the nation.

So if Millennials want to work with top tech companies, and these same companies are recruiting top talent like crazy, where does that leave our Industry in obtaining top talent? According to Martin Sorrell, Chief Exectuve Officer of WPP (parent company of Kantar, TNS, Millward Brown & Added Value) we are desperately in need of this talent. “Intense interest and behavior of young people can improve our research and make it more accepted. And right now our industry has the need for more skills in programming, data, & digital.”

It’s evident we have a need for Millennials, but do they have a need for us? Is our Industry perceived as innovative, creative, and technologically savvy in the eyes of Millennials? Enough to join? Only time will tell since not a single Top 50 Honomichl Company made their preference list. (Please comment below)   

MrChrisRuby is an award-winning expert Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive who has consulted with several Fortune 500 companies.  He is passionate about augmenting product development, the customer experience & corporate revenue. Follow MrChrisRuby on Twitter @MrChrisRuby, email him at mrchrisruby@gmail.com or read The Market Research Insider blog.





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crowdsourcing and Social Media Marketing: Is there more than selfie or hashtag creativity?

Evolving is the bettering or worsening of a sturdy phenomenon. Change is a more radical spin on the very same. But when it comes to social media habits, it is tricky to discern what is evolutionary and what is truly changing. Of 6 social media habits discussed previous on my blog, crowdsourcing comes up as relevant for marketing research. And why no, it is essentially based on the same principles of asking, listening, gathering. However, is there more to social media marketing than the surge of selfie and hashtag creativity? 

Crowdsourcing


Now that brands are all over Instagram and HBO is on Snapchat, consumers can expect to engage more with their brands on social than ever before. Tag them for coupons, like them for access, Instagram them for prizes or sneak previews, and eventually, engage with them like friends so as to passively provide them with growth strategies that come directly from the consumer’s mouth. Take the affair of social media with fashion week as a case in point. Truly, crowdsourcing at its best.


Selfie Creativity

The coining of Selfie Olympics on Twitter has shown that the selfie phenomenon will not langusih, especially since the iPhone 5S has an exemplary front facing camera, which, let’s get real, was not only for facetime or videochat. With cold selfies trending during the Polar Vortex, and people risking frostbite for the perfect selfie, the creativity will continue to rise… through reflections, acrobatic bathroom antics, and even a foray into the lives of those otherwise respected.

Hashtag Creativity

Events and conferences marvel at the connectivity and knowledge sharing prowess of hashtags and networking. But besides events, tv shows, and organizational hashtags, these have shown to be useful in drawing people together for absurd phenomenons too. Examples include a user created trend called #Walmartfights to share nationwide happenings on the anxious Black Friday. The most tragic of interpretations was developing nations’ kids reading out quotes tagged with the ironic phrase #firstworldproblems, probably the most tear jerking iconic display of hashtag displacement.




On the quest for content, brands and marketers will need to try and swim through the modern equivalent of fan mail (which is useful, gratifying and priceless, nonetheless!) to gather relevant insight.


Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh. - See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#sthash.DwQUug1X.dpuf
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh. - See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#sthash.DwQUug1X.dpuf
- See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/#sthash.uwXVqr8E.dpuf
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh. - See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#sthash.DwQUug1X.dpuf
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh. - See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/2013_03_01_archive.html#sthash.DwQUug1X.dpuf
- See more at: http://themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com/#sthash.uwXVqr8E.dpuf





Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Best Time To Post On Social Media is...?

We've all been there before. We are about to post across Social Media (SM) and that foreboding question finally hits us. “When is the best time and day to post on SM?” I mean, we want as many relevant (maybe even irrelevant) people to see our postings and content, right?

This ever evolving digital social process is called “The Science of Timing” (SOT).  If we get it right, everyone lives happily ever after.  If we get it wrong, no one gives us a second thought.

The "Science of Timing" predicts the optimal time to post on Social Media


SOT (a.k.a. the optimal time to post) revolves around 5 different paradigms and approaches otherwise known as: The Common Sense Approach, The Segmentation Approach, The Best Practices Approach, The Auto Scheduling Approach, and the Contracompetitive Timing Approach.

Huh?  Keep reading.

The Common Sense Approach is based on an intuitive sense of when people would or would not be on SM. For example, when people are asleep, at work, or at school, they are probably less likely to interact with SM. Whereas, if people are awake and the timing is before, after, or outside of work or school, their likelihood to use SM increases on average.

The Segmentation Approach involves timing based on the SM habits of your targeted audience, which coincidentally, you've collected over time. For example, if you and your organization are targeting teenage gamers during the upcoming summer, you've likely monitored their SM patterns over time, and will run a campaign based on the SM idiosyncrasies they've displayed. In all likelihood, their SM behavior will be different when compared to the entire online population as a whole.  Hence, the Segmentation Approach.

In contrast, The Best Practices Approach is based on how the entire SM audience acts as a whole and provides optimal timings based on aggregate online behavior.  You can think of it in terms of talking at a cocktail party, where there is a lot of chatter at its peak attendance point.

The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm – 5pm EST


Dan Zarella, SM Scientist for Hubspot, recently addressed the SOT Best Practices Approach for both Twitter and Facebook.  “The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm – 5pm EST, as this maximizes ReTweets. Coincidentally, we’ve found there is no significant difference in clickthrough rates according to the time of day or the day of the week, so it’s okay to experiment with your Tweets on the weekends and during late hours.”

Zarella further explains, “We've discovered clickthrough rates dramatically reduce, the more you post within an hour.  The clickthrough rate for a second post drops to 50%. The clickthrough rate for a 3rd post within an hour is almost nil.”  Zarella is not suggesting to Tweet less as he points to a strong relationship between the number of tweets per day and total followers.  Instead, he suggests not to “crowd out” your tweets per hour.

Zarella also suggests three key timing points for Facebook: (1) post every other day as  mainstream pages that did this displayed the most likes, (2) post content on the weekends since it elicits the most amount of shares and (3) post content in the morning as shares tend to do marginally better than those published at other times.

Don't "crowd out" your Tweets per hour


But if everyone uses The Best Practices Approach, wouldn't the SM landscape become overcrowded during those specific times and diminish the likelihood of anyone hearing your message?”

Great question.  Keep reading.

The three previous methods require someone from within to personally determine optimal timing.  Whereas with The Autoscheduling Approach, 3rd parties determine optimal posting times.  But what are these 3rd parties’ optimization practices you say?  And how do they measure up to yours?

After investigating Autoscheduling practices, two unique terms surfaced: static vs. dynamic. A static Autoscheduling system optimizes timing based on The Best Practices Approach, not on individual behavior. While a dynamic system optimizes timing through individual / follower behavior, and gets better over time. So which method would you prefer? Find out which method your provider utilizes.

Last but not least, there is The Contracompetitive Timing Approach. This approach is actually the opposite of The Best Practices Approach and circumvents its downside.  This territory lies at the beginning and tail-end of the cocktail party, where crowds are smaller in number, thereby improving the odds of individual engagement.  By utilizing Contracompetitive Timing, smaller crowds are more likely to hear your voice that would otherwise be lost in the chatter of a full-swing cocktail party.

So which SOT approach is the best? The Common Sense Approach of when people are online? The Segmentation Approach that profiles your specific target audience?  The mega-blast to a crowded room, Best Practice Approach?  Perhaps the best is The Autoscheduling Approach which leaves it in the hands of the experts? Or maybe the Contracompetitive Timing Approach seems like a valid alternative, so your messages aren't lost in the masses? Perchance it is a combination of all the above? 

In your personal experience, the best SOT approach is _________. (Please comment below)

MrChrisRuby is an award-winning expert Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive who has consulted with several Fortune 500 companies.  He is passionate about augmenting product development, the customer experience & corporate revenue. Follow MrChrisRuby on Twitter @MrChrisRuby, email him at mrchrisruby@gmail.com or read the MrChrisRuby Market Research Blog.









Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hacking H(app)iness Reveals Quantified (Whole) Self

Consumer Devices and Apps May Unlock Door to Measuring Unconscious Emotions

By Marc Dresner, IIR

John Havens is on to something that marketers and consumer researchers should pay close attention to, because the implications for insights work are huge.

This trend gets to the very essence of consumer intelligence and it may be the wave of the future...only it's happening now.
John Havens

The research isn’t being conducted by consumer researchers; this research is being conducted by consumers, themselves, for themselves.

Havens—author of “Hacking H(app)iness: Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World” and founder of the H(app)athon Project--is on a mission to help people objectively take stock of their lives using data they collect about themselves, and to then adjust their behaviors, lifestyles and priorities according to what those data tell them.

“Hacking H(app)iness involves using the devices and technologies we interact with every day to track, understand and optimize every aspect of our lives”

“Hacking H(app)iness involves using the devices and technologies around us that we interact with every day to track, understand and optimize every aspect of our lives,” Havens said.

“We don’t always know how we are feeling,” Havens remarked. 

“The data we can collect about ourselves on our smartphones, using apps and through other devices can serve as a proxy for our emotions and help us to improve our overall ‘wellbeing’ and quality of life,” he added.

“We don’t always know how we are feeling…Data we can collect about ourselves on smartphones using apps can serve as a proxy for our emotions.”

It’s based on the science of positive psychology. After all, Havens is about hacking happiness, not misery—a thoroughly noble pursuit to be sure.

But after conducting an interview with Havens for the Research Insighter podcast series, yours truly has honestly been preoccupied with the potential applications and implications for consumer researchers.

So I hope you’ll  forgive me if I focus less attention than I should on the potential benefit to mankind and more on the possibility that consumers may figure out a way to harness Big Data before those of us in marketing do.

Self Improvement...Gamified?

You’re probably familiar with the “Quantified Self” movement taking the healthcare and wellness industries by storm.

It’s generally associated with using sensor technology in smartphones and wearable devices (think Fitbit) to track and analyze physiological and other health-related data: heart rate, blood pressure, exercise, etc.

Now, “quantified selfies” will tell you that monitoring one’s own blood pressure, pulse and the like barely scratches the surface of the quantified self movement.

And they’re right.

The Quantified Self movement is in many respects the gamification of self improvement.


In many respects, the Quantified Self movement this is the gamification of self improvement.

Some devotees—there are clubs of them sprouting up all over (New York has a “chapter”)—monitor their cognitive functioning, blood oxygen levels—even the quality of the very air in the room they’re breathing.

And they don’t stop there.

Want to know how well you sleep at night? You need not necessarily spend a night in a medical sleep center; you can do it yourself at home in your own bed without a bunch of clinicians watching you thrash around in your sheets from behind glass.

Not all of these data are passively collected.

What you ate for lunch, for example, and its nutritional content needs to be manually entered, but that’ll get easier fast. (Watch for barcodes next to menu items in restaurants that can be scanned to your smartphone to track your diet.)

Technology that was only accessible to healthcare professionals, the military, law enforcement, etc., is now becoming commercially available to everyday consumers.

The point is that much of this, Havens points out, is possible because technology that was until recently only accessible to healthcare professionals, the military, law enforcement, etc., is now becoming commercially available to everyday consumers.

For example, he noted there’s an app available for download that accurately reads your heart rate by just pointing your smartphone’s camera at your face.

“These devices don’t even have to be touching us to collect this data,” Havens emphasized.

This type of stuff was formerly the domain of agents scoping out potential terrorists in airports.

And there are other equally sophisticated, albeit less sexy data collection technologies that are also making their way into the hands of everyday folks.

DIY online tracking? The data collection and analytics tools marketers use are making their way into the hands of average folks.

I’m talking about the data collection and analytics tools marketers use.

Think do-it-yourself online tracking—the activity, time spent, sites visited, Google searches, etc.

What could this information tell us about ourselves?

I recently attended IIR’s Media Insights and Engagement conference—a sister event to the Future of Consumer Intelligence, which sponsors this blog—and I can tell you media researchers are quite keen on getting at cross-platform media consumption data (not just programming content, but social and any other "media," too—all of it).

Meanwhile, Havens in his book proposes that you and I—wearing our Joe Consumer hats—might benefit from looking at how much time we spend playing Candy Crush, streaming YouTube videos, Facebooking, listening to MP3s, bidding on eBay auctions, etc.

Now where am I going to get that data?

My smartphone, my tablet, my desktop computer...Eureka!

So what would I do with this information?

H(app)iness hacking is like looking at a monthly credit card statement...You can see what you truly value based on where you spent your money.

Havens compares it to looking at one’s monthly credit card statement (something else I happen to have access to, coincidentally).

“With a credit card statement, you can see what you truly value because there is a list of what you put your money toward in the past month,” he told the Research Insighter.

Similarly, you know you really like music if you see that you’ve downloaded a ton of it.

Or maybe it’s a lot of pornography that you’ve been downloading?

That’s where the positive change comes into play.

“If you ask someone what really matters to them in life, they’ll tell you things like family time,” said Havens.

“But what if you had objective data about how you live your life? If you could track the things that you claim—that you believe—are important to you?” he asked.

If you could track the things that you believe are important to you, on paper the actual data might suggest otherwise.

“We might find that actually, according to the data, we don’t really value those things—at least that’s how it looks on paper. And we can make a change,” Havens said.

I’m not going to suggest that this stuff is going to make online surveys look primitive, like leaching…but you must admit Havens has a point.

Self-reported behavior isn’t bullet proof. 

And self-reported feelings? 

So much attention and investment is being devoted to unlocking the unconscious emotional motivations that drive consumer behavior in the research community for good reason.

“My hope is that these tools will allow people the opportunity to improve their wellbeing by making decisions based on real data, knowing things about themselves that they might not otherwise be aware of,” said Havens.

Now tell me the research community shouldn’t pay attention to this.



And click these links to check out John Havens' book, “Hacking H(app)iness,” and to learn more about the H(app)athon Project.

Editor’s note: John Havens will deliver a keynote titled, “Hacking Happiness: How to Give Big Data a Direction” at the Future of Consumer Intelligence conference taking place May 19-21 in San Francisco.

As a reader of this blog you will SAVE 15% on your registration to attend the Future of Consumer Intelligence when you use code FOCI14BLOG.  Register here today!


For more information, please visit www.futureofconsumerintel.com



ABOUT THE AUTHOR / INTERVIEWER 
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.